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August 19, 2015

Craft Paper Dudes

Simply put, some people are natural born illustrators. I discovered the work of Mister Woody Woods on Instagram and was immediately attracted to his constant and consistent feed of bright and bold images.

There's plenty of his work I wanted to feature here, but I'd rather leave you to dig around his full collection and instead I'll focus your attention to his paper craft characters. They are made-up from the perfect combination of doodled marker-lines and bold colored paper, cut to shape the forms of beards, funny noses, swirly hair, and striking eyes. Enjoy.

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August 7, 2015

How to Rediscover Your Sense of Play

They say as we grow into adulthood, we tend to lose our sense of play.

We’re supposed to be all serious, because we’re no longer kids. Grow up they said. Playtime is for kids they said. Perhaps they might be referring to the foam floors and colourful surrounds of a bouncing castle. But in doing so they took away the safe space within our minds and hearts.  And so we strip ourselves of the proverbial foam mats that allow us to bounce and tumble to our heart’s delight. We skin our knee and scrape our elbows. They laugh and jeer. We cower away. And so little by little we forget. We build walls to appear stronger, more serious, more adult; inadvertently locking out the things that makes us happy.

According to Scott G. Eberle, Ph.D, vice president for play studies at The Strong and editor of the American Journal of Play: "Defining play is difficult because it's a moving target. [It’s] a process, not a thing. In between you find surprise, pleasure, understanding — as skill and empathy — and strength of mind, body, and spirit."

Play, to me, is all about being clued in, and yet totally open to whatever happens. A surprise. A discovery. An eureka moment that leaves a shiver of excitement down my spine and a noticeable spring in my step. It differs from one person to another – perhaps you might have sweaty palms and then a quick burst of cold sweat that soon disappears, leaving a warm sensation that courses through your body. A hint of a smile that forms on your lips. A twinkle in your eye.

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August 6, 2015

Odd Faces and Quirky Animations

I live to find random and happy projects like this one by Momoe Narazaki, a talented graphic designer and illustrator who recently launched a fun tumblr with close to one-hundred odd faces in funny and quirky animations. Never mind cat videos, just stare at these all day.

August 6, 2015

Logging On: The Unconventional Lumberfolk of Jay Dart

No two beards are drawn the same in the illustrations of Jay Dart. He is a Canadian artist whose drawings give us a peek of men at work in the wilderness with bright beards and magical tools. Explosions of color in the snowy white landscape of Dart’s imagined world create a sense of fun, friendship, and magic in the middle of nowhere. A childlike whimsy in the colors and patterns contrasts playfully with the hardened austere stereotype we have come to expect from bearded manly men. Dart’s unconventional lumberfolk exist in a frosty place where work is play and the natural overlaps with the magical.

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July 31, 2015

Doodling with a purpose: How to create art that speaks

Those lines you just left on paper – are those really just doodles?

Could it be more than just meandering lines that you've mindlessly put together? Mindless not in the way it was created, but mindless in the way how easily our minds shifts from one thought to the next, perplexing, changing, evolving and never the same. Mindless in weight, in troubles and in spirit? A line that solidifies our constant state of flux, by being there – a constant. A reminder. A mark left in time that captures the essence of what makes drawing such a personal affair.

What happens beyond the meandering? At what point does a drawing become art? Or is every doodle a work of art in itself? I'd like to think it’s more the latter, but at the same time, sometimes not all doodles are made equal – sometimes it's nothing more than it is. And yet some are more than they truly show. An image, a still, captured in time. A thought. A fleeting emotion. Raw. Keep reading...

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July 26, 2015

Damien Florebert Cuypers: New York Fashion Week

While searching for the work of another artist with the same agency, I found this colorful series Damien Cuypers created from New York Fashion Week. Peering into the seemingly untouchable realm of fashion is a guilty pleasure for me. I'm thrilled when an illustrator takes on fashion in their sketches, removing the brand, the label, the money, and the model. Drawn in crayon, Cuypers' choice of medium increases the feeling of simplicity in these drawings. Still, Cuypers maintains the beauty of the clothes, the person, and the setting. He's also wonderful at capturing a moment, whether on the runway, a posed shot on a city street, or a candid moment between fashion geniuses. I can see in my mind's eye the photographs of the same scenes, and only then do I realize how much I prefer the drawn interpretations. Seeing the pieces all together they offer a bounty of bright colors, and only when you think about it do you realize there is quite a lot of gray and black in these images. In doing this, Cuypers has represented both the fashion and the city, just by choosing the right crayon.

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July 24, 2015

Scrapbook Meets Sketchbook

I went to eat at a friend's swanky restaurant recently, and he stopped me when he noticed I started my meal without touching the lemon wedge on the rim of the plate. He explained that the lemon is an important finishing touch to the flavor, and the chef leaves the wedge there so that you can feel included in the preparation of your food. I thought of this just now, as I was looking at Mall Licudine's illustrations. There's a sense of purpose in the way she photographs her finished works with the tools she used clearly visible in the periphery. I found myself examining the clutter of her workspace and looking back to the drawing to figure out where she used what in the picture. This gave me a surprisingly clear mental image of the artist at work and the steps she took to construct specific pieces, almost making me feel as if I was there during the creation. It's an unusual experience that doesn’t happen for me often! 

Her sketchbook drawings have dates incorporated into the art, which makes me wonder if this is a form of journal. Typography in the illustrations is often inspirational or emotional in subject, which suggests something therapeutic for the artist. There’s also a nostalgic aspect which comes from using snips of patterned washi tape to add elements of collage into the sketches. A scrapbook made of sketches instead of photos? You can follow Mall Licudine's instagram or tumblr to see more.

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